I posted this on 2+2, but figured it might be of interest to some folks here as well.
After a year or so of running Rimdog.com
as a way to organize our home game, I thought my experiences might be useful to people here.
We use the web site for the following purposes/goals:
- To notify people of upcoming games
- To let people sign up for games
- As a way to keep people in touch
- Low maintenance and self-service was a guiding principle
To that end, everyone who plays @ Rimdog Barn has an account on our web site. They are notified via email when a new game is posted, and they can update their status for upcoming games on their own.
There are public pages on our site, but the bulk of the site (including the game postings, contact info, etc.) remains private, viewable only to people with accounts on the site.
A typical game posting looks like this:
We've found this has worked extremely well. So how was this accomplished?
- The core of Rimdog.com is WordPress. It is typically used for blogs, but we've found is works extremely well as a game organizing CMS system as well, with a little customization. Any hosting site should be able to install and set it up for you.
- Each person is given an account as Subscribers on the WordPress site, with their own login/password, email address, etc. Without an account, much of the content is not viewable.
- We installed the Post Notification plugin, so that users are automatically emailed when a new game is posted.
- Users then can just click on the URL from their email, and click to indicate their status for the game (I'm Coming / Coming late / Maybe / Not coming), which automatically updates the list of players attending the game. This is a custom plugin I wrote for WordPress (if anyone is interested in it, I'd be happy to share).
- We have the following reference pages are permanent links viewable only with an account: Cleaning & Closing Up, Game Site Directions, Players Contact Info, Regular Game Days, Rimdog Library, Rimdog Rules, & Tournament Leaderboard
- We installed the plugin PrivatePost which allows logged in users to see private posts, so games and other private information are not viewable without an account.
- We also installed WordPress Mobile Edition to automatically make the site look and operate well on mobile devices like iPhones, Blackberrys, etc.
- Other plugins I've found useful: WRP Cards for typing in hands, Hand Converter for posting hand histories, Lightbox 2 for images, and there are many other useful plugins for WordPress as well.
- There are a whole bunch of free poker oriented WordPress themes that you can use out of the box, or customize for yourself to give your site a nice look.
I tried to cover much what we've done in order to give folks thinking about creating their own game organizing web site some ideas, and hopefully a bit of a "starter kit" as well.
I got sick of updating our tournament leader boards manually, so I added automatic stats tracking too.
Prior to the tournament, it calculates automatically the prize pool and payouts based on the buy-in and the number of people who have signed up.
After the tourney is over, I can just tap on the (1) (2) (3) etc. to indicate who came in what place, and then it updates the tournament post with the results, and also adds them to the overall tournament results page:
It keeps track of the number of tournaments a person has cashed in out of the number of tournaments they've entered, their ROI, and what places they've come in.
Saved me a lot of headache and hassle of manually updating stuff.
"Points" are just the cumulative amount of money paid out to them (gross), divided by 10... with 1 point given to players who bubble (even though they made no money).
One other thing I did is that if you don't have an account, the screen that comes up when you go to the web site is this:
...which lets people submit the info I need from them to make an account for them. Then I made up some "business cards" that regulars are free to take and hand out to people that they know, to bring in fresh blood:
It's made the sign-up process a lot easier, and has brought a number of new players into the game. I had the cards printed up as Moo.com
, they were fairly inexpensive and easy to work with.
Any comments/questions, please feel free.